Looking Back: Pace House sold to Miami couple for nursing home

Published 9:05 am Friday, November 30, 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Back features past articles from The Tidewater News with commentary by local historian Clyde Parker.

by Clyde Parker


The former W.T. Pace home will soon be converted into Franklin’s first nursing home.

Mr. and Mrs. Marion A. Walczakowski of Miami purchased the 57-year-old home and hope to open for business in December, pending arrival of heating and sprinkler equipment.

Walczakowski is a retired Chicago businessman and his wife is a registered nurse. They were on vacation in Franklin visiting relatives when they heard the home was for sale.

The 2½-story, 15-room home was built in 1905 by W.T. Pace, who lived there until his death in 1954 at age 88. Pace was owner of a Main Street hardware store business.

Originally, there were 30 acres of wooded land in back of the home. Pace cleared the land in 1930 and sold it for residential development, which is now known as Pace’s Court.



The American Red Cross Bloodmobile visited Franklin Baptist Church last Monday and collected 78 pints of blood.

Seven doctors, eight registered nurses, three practical nurses, 11 clerical workers, seven Girl Scouts and six members of the hospital auxiliary worked with the donors and collected the blood.




“There is no reason why Franklin City Schools can’t be among the educational leaders in the state,” said Ed Brickell, Franklin’s first school superintendent.

This may sound like a big order, but Brickell, 36, former superintendent of the South Norfolk School System, accepted the Franklin job because of the challenge it presents as a new school division.

Franklin schools are still a part of the county system. The two systems are being operated together under the direction of Southampton County until the 1963-1964 school year begins.

Brickell’s aims for the school system to include evaluations of previous administrative practices and take a continuing look at the subjects offered students.

“We have excellent facilities here and I hope principals and teachers will stay with us,” Brickell said. “I will have considerable consultation with Franklin High School Principal F.H. Christopher.”

“I would like to see language labs, educational TV and program learning,” he continued. “I hope to set up a closed-circuit educational TV in the schools as soon as possible. Program learning, where a student can work at his own pace, has tremendous potential for bright students.”

“We want to be first with some of these programs,” Brickell said. “In a small system, we can do some experimenting without any great harm if at first we encounter negative outcomes.”




Last week, A.W. “Woodie” Livesay, co-owner of Thornton and Livesay Furniture Store in Franklin, was elected president of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce for 1963. He succeeds William M. Camp.

Also elected were John H. Scott, executive vice president; William M. Camp Jr., vice president agricultural division; Herbert Cobb Jr., vice president civic division; Thomas F. Clark, vice president industrial division; Horace Pierce Jr., vice president retail division; and John D. Abbitt, treasurer.

Directors elected were Hunter Darden and William Camp Jr. in the agricultural division, Robert L. Lambert in the civic division, and John E. Ray III and H.S. James in the industrial division. Each director will serve a three-year term.

New industry, peanut farming, county-city relations, slum clearance and downtown shopping tops the list of suggested projects for 1963.

Floyd Briggs reported on several 1962 projects. Opening of the Airway Motel was considered the most significant Chamber accomplishment. The most disappointing project was the lack of progress on widening the Country Club Road from Hunterdale to the Country Club. There is difficulty in obtaining necessary right-of-way.



City Manager Harold Atkinson said Friday the city-owned apartments at the Franklin Airport should be either repaired or torn down.

During World War II, the U.S. Navy used the facility as an auxiliary base for Oceana Naval Air Station. Over 500 naval personnel were stationed there during the war.

After the war, the Navy gave the base to the Town of Franklin, which converted it into a civilian airport. In 1946, the barracks were remodeled into 30 apartments.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is ParkerC@seva-redcross.org.